Our essential Overwatch hero tier list for Season 13 (November 2018) breaks down the entire roster of characters into their most competitive brackets, with massive guides for each one as well!
As Season 13 is just kicking off, expect this tier list to change somewhat as the weeks go by! We've tried our best to represent the meta, but don't take our tier list as definitive. The meta's in a pretty balanced place right now, meaning many heroes are still viable, even if they aren't topping our list.
We've all got our favourite characters in Overwatch, and although some of them can sometimes appear on paper to be a bit more powerful than others, we take a pretty clear position when it comes to appraising them. All in all we think Blizzard has done an impressive job of crafting a roster of characters which are not only wonderfully distinct from one another, but also pretty well balanced as a collection. The Overwatch team hasn't been shy to introduce buffs and nerfs as and when they've been required, and we only expect the game's tuning to get tighter over time
With all this said and done though, it's fair to say that some heroes prove more consistently useful than others when it comes to contributing to a wide variety of team compositions. As a result, we like to provide a regularly updated snapshot of how the heroes stack up against one another, and do so in the form of the tier list you're reading now.
How exactly have we gone about compiling our list though? For a start, we take our own experience with the current meta into consideration, before factoring in the generally accepted wisdom of the crowd via alternative hero ratings. We also lean somewhat in our rankings towards playing with other random players, rather than team builds favoured by tightly coordinated competitive teams.
All things being equal this list will guide you towards making a solid choice within each category. Having said that, we encourage you to play the characters you enjoy and excel at above all else, and at the same time try to work around the hero picks of your teammates - even if you disagree.
Editor's Note: November Update
Season 13 Overview
It's difficult to make any definitive statements, but here's a snapshot of the heroes who are already beginning to have an impact in the competitive mix:
Special thanks Overwatch Central's video which also proved to be a valuable resource when it came to getting a handy overview of who's strong in the meta right now.
- Ashe - We're not placing Ashe anywhere in our tier list right now as she won't be out in competitive for a while yet. From what we've played of her, we imagine she'll be an extremely popular pick and it's clear that the community thinks likewise too. We've heard she pairs up exceptionally well with Mercy thanks to her damage boost, and if you can land those all important headshots you'll be a devastating addition to any team.
- Torbjorn - We've not moved Torbjorn in our tier list just yet as we're waiting on his changes to go live in-game and to see how his newfound form fares in competitive mode. It's clear that he's emerged much stronger now that the focus is less on his turret, and more on him. Potentially a very strong pick - who would've thought?!
- Roadhog - Again, another hero who we're not budging up our tier list just yet. Changes to the spread on his Scrap Gun and the way his Chain Hook handles should make him a much stronger pick than he is currently. There have been rumblings that a return of the "Flank Hog" could be approaching, so we'll keep an eye on the meta to see if he turns out to be the menace many are saying he could be.
- Genji + Tracer - Both very strong picks - in the right hands. Genji's one of the most picked DPS heroes right now and incredibly potent if the person behind the keyboard has their mechanics on point.
- Hanzo + Junkrat - These heroes don't control the meta anymore, but that doesn't mean they aren't strong. Both of them still excel in certain situations and particular maps. Junkrat's great at destroying tanks and holding down chokepoints, while Hanzo's an excellent sniper who's capable of causing the enemy team a real headache.
- Reinhardt - At the very start of Season 12 Reinhardt looked like he was on a slight decline, but that's definitely not the case. He's still by far the most popular tank in the game right now and that's likely thanks to Ana's rise up the ranks too.
- Ana - Ana's definitely the strongest support in the game right now and her pick rate's soared since her round of buffs at the start of the season. We've always been a fan of her and that's down to her kit presenting solutions to every kind of problem. An absolute must-pick right now.
- Moira - A staple of Season 10 and a hero that dropped in popularity a little throughout Season 11. As dive heroes are slowly coming out of hibernation, she's beginning to gain more traction as she's capable of decent healing, damage dealing and most importantly, she's able to duck out of a sticky situation when pounced on.
- D.Va - D.Va's still a decent pick as she's a brilliant all-rounder, able to hoover up any damage sources with her Defense Matrix and zoom around the map harassing the enemy. We've bumped her up to Tier 1 as she's a staple of the game right now.
- Winston - Winston's proof that the dive comp can work, but you've got to be a tightly coordinated team to pull it off. He's not up there with the likes of Reinhardt, Zarya or D.Va but if you've got a gameplan in mind which requires a particular set of "divey" tools, then it's well worth switching to him.
- Doomfist - Not as bad as his lowly pickrate belies. He's ridiculously strong all things considered, and that's down to his crazy mobility, tankiness and ability to be used for anti-dive/backline protection alongside brawly team compositions.
- Wrecking Ball He's a strong dive presence in the right hands, but he's easily countered by heroes that have CC abilities. Heroes like Winston and D.Va are far more capable of hopping in and out and being disruptive with their shields and damage negation abilities. Wrecking Ball relies too heavily on Piledriver, which if missed, can leave you and your team in an vulnerable spot.
- Mercy - Still a strong pick, but Ana and Moira are more common place right now.
- Lucio - Certainly capable of keeping your team topped up in the thick of a team fight, and a great dive comp enabler. He's not the strongest Support hero out there right now, but he's a solid pick if Ana or Moira isn't working out and you need a hero to do some basic healing groundwork.
Overwatch hero ranking and ratings
Here's our Season 13 tier list snapshot, updated for the month of November.
These listings are by no means definitive, especially as the meta's pretty balanced at the moment with a vast number of heroes being viable in the right situations!
|Tier 1||Reinhardt||Reinhardt guide||Tank|
|Tier 2||D.Va||D.Va guide||Tank|
|Tier 3||Lucio||Lucio guide||Support|
|Wrecking Ball||Wrecking Ball guide||Tank|
|Tier 4||Mei||Mei guide||Defense|
|Soldier: 76||Soldier: 76 guide||Offense|
|Tier 5||Bastion||Bastion guide||Defense|
Reinhardt’s back in a big way and his pick rate is currently through the roof at all levels of play. It’s all thanks to his huge barrier that can protect an entire backline, as well as the devastating potential of a correctly timed Earthshatter. He can hold a team together and simultaneously crush an opposing one in a matter of seconds.
Let’s not forget that he’s got great synergy with the likes of Brigitte and Zarya who’ve also seen a rise in popularity too. Their ability to chuck armour and shields his way makes him an even stronger defensive force on the battlefield.
Zarya’s another tank who’s seen a rise in popularity once again and that’s down to the fact that she compliments Reinhardt and Brigitte so nicely. Her bubble shield can soak up damage from meta heroes like Hanzo and Junkrat, which feeds her energy bar really quickly and builds her strong Ultimate ability.
Zarya’s Ultimate also combos well with Hanzo’s Dragonstrike, Reinhardt’s Earthshatter and many more besides. She’s a super flexible pick who’s able to wrench her allies out of danger while increasing her power at the same time.
After a round of buffs, Ana's back in business. Her kit's absolutely spot on for almost every situation and she's more than capable of holding her own when it comes to topping up some of the beefiest health bars in the game. Welcome back old friend.
Moira did have a little dip in pick rate, but she's definitely made a big comeback. She's great in all departments, but it's her ability to do it all that makes her so strong. Healing? Check. Damage dealing? Check. Able to get herself out of a sticky situation at the press of a button? Check.
Doomfist’s very strong in the right hands, able to blitz around the battlefield and one-shot opponents with a huge punch. Get over-zealous though, and you’ll be left completely stranded. He’s pretty unforgiving in this regard and unless you’ve poured quite a few hours into him, prepare to put yourself out of position over and over again. He’s got game-changing power, so pour some hours into mastering him and you could be the key difference-maker in many a match.
D.Va's still a formidable force on the battlefield and that's down to her great all-rounder style. She's got insane mobility, negates ultimates and can harass the backline with ease. There's almost always a slot in the composition for D.Va to fit into and that says volumes about how much of an asset her kit can bring to a team.
Winston one occupied the very highest spot on our tier list during "The Age of the Dive Meta". He's definitely not what he once was, but he's certainly still a strong pick that'll head up a dive composition just fine.
Hanzo’s got fantastic mobility, coupled with the ability to one-shot a multitude of heroes and it’s extremely difficult to play against a Hanzo who’s landing all their shots and scurrying all over the map.
Junkrat’s still holding strong in the DPS role thanks to his immense burst damage that’s perfect for breaking shields and shutting down the frontline. Much like Hanzo, he’s remarkably agile and players can really struggle to deal with his constant barrage of bombs.
Brigitte’s burst onto the competitive scene and she’s a common sight in 90% of our matches. She’s not really much of a healer, but she functions amazingly well as an off-tank who provides some additional frontline presence as well as the ability to armour up her allies.
On top of all this, she synergises well with many shield-based heroes, and can switch from being defensive to stunning an enemy down in the blink of an eye. The utility she provides is exceptional and it’s no wonder she occupies the upper echelons of our Overwatch tier list right now.
Mercy's hardly fallen from grace since her nerf a little while back. Although she's not the invulnerable healing menace that she once was, many players in all tiers are still playing her, and for good reason too. Strong, reliable single-target healing and an Ultimate ability that gives her serious survivability while keeping teammates topped up? She's going to be sticking around for a while.
Zenyatta's a key pick for dive compositions and is often a perfect counter and compliment to whatever's strong in the meta. His Transcendence is capable of negating damage, and his Discord and Healing Orbs are great for both removing vulnerable targets and ensuring allies are kept in the green.
In solid hands Lucio can shine as brightly in a random team as he does in truly collaborative pre-made efforts, and although he doesn't have a huge amount of health to play with - and his weapon projectiles are rather wobbly to deliver - his exceptional versatility, flexibility and ability to sustain his teammates and rush them back into action makes him a strong pick for any team.
We recognise that he's a solid pick, but we've placed him mid tier as there are some stronger options out there in terms of Support heroes right now.
Genji’s skillset revolves around harassing enemies with Shurikens and closing down vulnerable targets. Shields and armour make his job much harder, especially as many enemies in the meta are now able to stun or burst him down in seconds.
If you can skillfully blend his amazing mobility skills and precision aiming together though, consider placing him a tier higher than he currently is. More than most heroes, how Genji is ranked by anyone is determined largely by your own ability at playing him. Just be warned that it's now a really tough gig...
Pharah’s another hero who’s seen a steady increase in pick rate throughout Season 11 and for much the same reasons as the ascendency of both Hanzo and Junkrat. She’s mobile, deals high burst damage and pairs up nicely with all the other meta heroes. Tag team her with Mercy and you’ve got a classic combination that forces the enemy into re-thinking their team composition just to deal with you.
Pharah gets weaker as you climb tiers and Widowmakers with sharp aim crawl out of the woodwork though, so that's why we've placed her mid-tier.
We really enjoy McCree's point and click style. This hero comes with a caveat, however, in that you'll need quick reactions to succeed in just about any of the many duels you're likely to find yourself in. If you're clumsy with your shots, consider McCree a much lower pick. Having said that, his Flashbang grenade ability is amazing for locking down a squishy kill, and anyone who manages to master this hero can expect to make a serious difference to a team's performance on any given map or game mode. Put simply, if you expect lots of close-quarters combat, McCree is an exceptionally potent force on the battlefield.
Tracer's similar to Genji in nearly every respect. She's a phenomenal flanker who's capable of terrorising the enemy backline or gradually whittling down tank health bars - but only in the right hands. She's so mechanically intensive that this pick may not work in your favour.
Unless you’re extremely good, you’re likely to do no more than be a nuisance.
We're not completely sold on Wrecking Ball. He's got some great utility, but he's only a decent pick if you're playing in a tightly coordinated team. Otherwise, we've found he's difficult to play with and around, especially as he zips around the map doing his own thing.
All in all, D.Va's just a better all-round pick who can still fulfill the same role as Wrecking Ball without potentially throwing the team into disarray.
An extremely accomplished Widowmaker player can cause the enemy team a huge number of headaches, but played strictly solo she can be a somewhat fiddly and fragile character to dominate with. When she's fully zoomed in on the action at hand, she's extremely vulnerable to being eliminated by a flanking aggressor and with no guaranteed protection from a teammate she can be taken out of combat pretty quickly.
Those who don't excel at this particular niche will find her a tricky hero to make any real impact with though.
More great Overwatch guides:
Not only does Mei have a whole truckload of annoying crowd-control abilities to frustrate the enemy team with, she can also summon down a massive wall of ice that provides a super-annoying barricade for your future victims to have to deal with. Her excellent, immobilising Ultimate ability does require you to have a team who are savvy enough to capitalise on the opportunity though, so she's by no means a first pick if you're queuing up for a match with randoms. In a well-organised team, however, she can be a bit of a menace for the opposition to deal with. Expect your teammates to roll your eyes a bit when you choose her though.
A few seasons ago we'd bumped Reaper up towards the top echelons of our tier list. His new life-stealing passive took him to new heights, but right now, he's fallen by the wayside a little. There's an inherent clunkiness to his playstyle that means he can't keep up with all the mobility currently in the game. We sense a rework on the cards if he's ever to make an impact again.
Soldier: 76 [Offense]
It's a little tempting at first glance to think that Soldier: 76 is just another boring run-and-gun hero - and it's no accident that he's the first character you encounter during the game's tutorial - and yet there's plenty of mastery to be had here despite this surface simplicity. His DPS is very strong, his Sprint ability allows him to get back into the thick of battle nice and quickly, and that group heal can often mean the difference between victory or a rather embarrassing group wipe. He's a solid all-rounder really, and one that shines in skilled hands.
Having said all this, there's a better DPS for almost every situation currently (Hanzo for burst, Genji for flanking) and that's why he's in the lower rungs of this tier list.
Ever since she launched, Orisa's struggled to break out of a mid-table position. That came to an end in Season 8 as her ability to constantly throw down shields and hold the frontline began to see the light of day. Now with Season 13 under way she’s slipped down the rankings, and that’s down to the fact she’s only worth picking in very specific situations and scenarios.
Roadhog's not really in the best state currently, but a recent PTR change could bring him back to the top. We'll update his positioning once we know more!
Bastion has languished at the bottom of the heap for far too long since his glory days in the beta, when everything he touched turned to pixellated dust. He was nerfed a little too hard for our liking back then, and a round of post-launch buffs haven't had nearly as much of an impact as he needed. He has his situational strengths when defending, but he still doesn't feel like the finished article to us.
Bastion’s always languished at the bottom of the pile, only seeing glimpses of glory when played as a “troll” pick or something that might throw the enemy off if you’ve tried absolutely every tactic and still nothing’s worked.
Bastion’s got some situational strengths, but he’s a linear hero who’s easily countered and only effective in niche scenarios.
Torbjorn's been completely updated and rumour has it that he's really strong right now. We'll have to see how this translates into the metagame once he's unlocked for competitive matchmaking.
For a time it was hard to tell whether Sombra was hideously under or overpowered in the metagame - and it depended very much on the skill level of any given player. She's another highly situational character who can make a big difference in certain circumstances, but she's a tough pick to make an argument for from the get-go.
Symmetra's rework has been huge and when you look at her new kit on paper, it certainly gives off the impression that she'll now have a big impact on the competitive scene. Unfortunately this isn't the case.
She's still a niche hero with damaging abilities that really don't match up to the likes of Genji, Tracer or even Doomfist. She lacks their mobility and "punch" when it comes to harassing opponents or pulling off an explosive combination of moves that'll eliminate enemies in a split second.
She'll need a buff or two to see any sort play, but in the right hands she can at least have some impact.